Emily Io: Reflecting on the last 20 years of Macau gaming

Emily Io

Senior VP of Sales, Walker Digital Table Systems

When did you arrive in Macau and in what capacity?

I returned to Macau from the U.S. in March 2003 seeking opportunities but certainly had not expected to settle for over a decade and a half now. I had chosen the public sector, in investor relations at the Trade and Investment Promotion Institute as a civil servant. It became a gateway to the gaming industry and more so for suppliers opening up unlimited potential of a career path.

 What were your first impressions?

 At that time, job opportunities were quite limited to the public sector, SJM and banks.

 What are the biggest changes you have seen in your section of the industry?

Over the years, since gaming liberalization, I have witnessed the evolution of table games from the acrylic shoe, handwritten trend sheet and plastic chip to the intelligent shoe, trend board display, automatic shuffler and ultimately PJM technology for casino chips and the Perfect Pay platform for baccarat tables.

What have you found most challenging, or memorable?

 Macau has transitioned from the SJM-dominant local operation to an international gaming hub topping not just the GGR of Las Vegas, but superseding the performance in various aspects of the gaming operators in Asia Pacific. It has always been challenging and will be more challenging as competition from the likes of Singapore, Vietnam and perhaps Japan in the future, continues to rise with mega IR projects and casinos.

Share a curious/ funny episode that could only have happened in Macau?

That in Macau, with a population of over half a million on soil of less than 50mi²,

That Venetian Macau is two fold the size of The Venetian Las Vegas. The Eiffel Tower is only half the size of the actual Eiffel Tower. It has made to the 2nd in the world by nominal GDP per capita, all because of the liberalization of the gaming industry that happened less than two decades ago.

How are you expecting Macau to evolve in the next 20 years?

To continue to be an industry leader, Macau will require more regulatory and policy enforcement by the relevant governing entities to ensure that the infrastructure of the city is more connected to the Greater Bay Area and the city continues to help develop the local population by diversifying talents in conjunction with the continued growth of the gaming industry.